FurnitureConsignment.com Blog

Paralyzed by Decorating Indecision? Here are Some Tips to Help

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 13, 2018 @ 08: 18 AM

 

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“I’m afraid to make a mistake.” 

Judging from her expression, that was an understatement. She wasn’t merely afraid of a decorating faux pas, she was petrified and, as a result, paralyzed. Standing in our showroom, she looked like she was about to cry. 

Her anxiety was understandable. Now that the kids were grown, she and her husband were moving from the big empty colonial to a townhouse in a golf community. “He’s worked hard all his life and this is what he wants,” she said. “I want him to be happy.” 

Her expression betrayed her true feelings, though. She, too, was ready for a change, but was this was the right change? Her mind was churning with worry. Would they miss the old neighborhood? Would they make new friends?

All those unspoken anxieties were fueling her decorating paralysis. Should she repaint the blue wall in the new kitchen? The floors in the new house were a yellowish oak; her dining room table is a rich espresso color. Would that combo look weird? 

Even more importantly, how could she artfully integrate certain pieces of furniture from her colonial into a townhouse designed for casual living? 

At FCG, she got not only a sympathetic ear, but some valuable tips to help her make the transition with less stress. Since many of you might be thinking of a similar move in the future, I thought we’d share our collective wisdom.

1. First, relax. Decorating to please your new neighbors would be a mistake. Your home should be a reflection of you, a refuge that comforts you like a cozy blanket.

2. Don’t buy upholstery online. Tempting though that may be, you will want a sofa that’s comfortable. How will you know? Sit on it. Sprawl like you will during the Super Bowl. You can’t make decisions on comfort from an online photo.

3. Buy quality. Trendy looks are fun but there’s nothing quite like a well-made piece of furniture. Yes, quality is more expensive, but you’ll never regret it. You will, however, be full of regret when the cheap foam-filled sofa sags or that chair breaks under the weight of a guest at Thanksgiving.

4. Embrace color. Consider a dash of orange or cobalt blue. Have fun. What happens when you’re frozen with fear? You play it safe: white walls, gray sofa. That’s blah.

5. Don’t replace, restore. Take some of the most meaningful pieces of furniture with you to your new home. Then, give those pieces a fresh look by painting, refinishing or reupholstering.

6. Feature your family. Nothing is more intriguing than family photos. Frame them tastefully, place them strategically. You can’t go wrong when you center your decorating around those who mean the most to you.

A Casting Call in Boston Pits One Twin Against the Other

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 06, 2018 @ 01: 24 PM

 

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“Why me?”

Brad, manager of our store in Plymouth, was asking that question with utter delight. He’d been chosen as an extra in a movie being filmed this fall in Boston starring a most famous actress, whom he adores. He and his identical twin brother had tried out for parts, but only he had been chosen.

So when he had the chance to ask the director why he made the cut – and not his brother – he pounced gleefully. Surely, the director would allude to his dashing good looks. Maybe he had an unrealized but extraordinary gift for acting. The director might even say that he was so photogenic that it’s a miracle he hadn’t been discovered sooner.

Brad was eager to know so he could lord it over his disappointed brother, Ron.

At FCG, we’ve enjoyed the antics of these rivalrous twins for more than a decade. Brad has been store manager in Plymouth since 2013. Ron is one of the top salespeople at our store in Natick. Both are outrageously talented in interior design and our customers love them. But pit them against each other in a contest, and the daggers come out. Elegant daggers, of course.

Consider FCG’s Christmas tree contest of 2016. Competitive tree decorating is a tradition that pits our three stores against each other to win the prize for designing the most fabulous tree. Brad and Ron led top-secret missions to secure the title for their stores, with results that were over-the-top. Snowflakes as big as parasols? Yup, that was Brad. The guy who was peaking in the window, spying, while Brad worked away? Yup, Ron.

So of course sparks would fly when they decided to vie for roles in the movie. They’d seen an ad in the local paper and decided to give it a shot. On the set, the talent scout sized up the two, then pointed to Brad, adding "I think we can use him.”

Ron was devastated. The two didn’t speak to each other on the ride home. But Brad was already broadcasting the news far and wide. He called me to let me know he would need a day off to get fitted for his costume. He’d also been told to grow a beard. “Right away!” he replied eagerly. “My whiskers will be ready!”

A few days later, Brad was sitting with the talent scout, the makeup artist and costume designer, and he couldn’t help but ask the question. “Why me and not my identical twin?” The talent scout grabbed her computer to check out a photo of the two. “Well, she said bluntly, “we need an older looking man.”

Brad’s heart sank. Older looking than his twin? Despite his careful skin-care regime? He left his fitting deflated. Minutes later, he got a call from his brother. “They want me!” Ron crowed. Apparently, the talent scout thought he’d be perfect for the role of a gentleman in a tuxedo sitting in the front row of a theater. Meanwhile, Brad found out he was cast as a bum sitting in the rafters.

“It’s all my fault.” Brad complained. “Why did I ask! Because of me, Ron has the better role – and he’ll be only a few feet away from my leading lady.”

Our days are never dull at Furniture Consignment Gallery. If you’re not entertained by our ever-changing inventory, then come just to visit our new resident movie stars. Ron and Brad are always worth the price of admission.

Creative Table Tops and Bar Carts on Oct. 4: An Event to Help the Homeless

Posted by Jay Frucci on Mon, October 01, 2018 @ 10: 18 AM

 

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What’s for dinner? 

That’s a question that resonates with all of us. When I think about my most memorable meals, I think of my late grandmother. Even now, memories of her eggplant parmesan make my mouth water. Her braciole di manza, tender beef rolls filled with a savory stuffing and braised in a homemade tomato sauce? That dish should have been declared a national treasure. 

Not everyone is as fortunate. Some don’t have any answer for the question “what’s for dinner?” Despite our roaring economy, there are many who go hungry in our towns and cities. They, too, have memories but those won’t fill an empty stomach tonight. 

On Thursday, Oct. 4th, Boston’s design community is coming together to create an event that will help to alleviate homelessness and hunger in Boston. Heading Home to Dinner is the second annual event by the local design community to raise funds for those in need. Sponsors include the Boston Design Center, New England Home magazine, and other local design firms.

Those attending will enjoy a great meal on dining tables featuring spectacular tablescapes while sipping drinks from themed bar carts. Boston’s top interior designers are hard at work now creating those extraordinarily themes. 

My wife, Diana, co-owner of FCG and an ASID designer, was asked to design a bar cart. Her cart will feature that most classic of American cocktails, the Old Fashioned, with its main ingredient, of course, Kentucky bourbon. Diana chose this theme to honor her memories of dinnertime growing up in Louisville. Those memories are filled with clinking glasses, warm laughter, good manners and social graces. 

Looking for a hint of her bar cart design? The style will be Art Deco. Diana has chosen a palette of deep greens, blues and golds – the colors of peacock feathers, which were popular in women’s fashions in the Roaring Twenties. Follow Diana as she offers a glimpse into her design on Instagram: Furnitureconsignmentgalleryma

Last year, Heading Home to Dinner raised over $100,000. We’re hoping for even more this year. Join us to support a good cause. For more information on Heading Home to Dinner or to buy tickets, visit the event website: https://headinghometodinner.org

Puppy Love: Scratching, Chewing with a Side of Pure Love

Posted by Jay Frucci on Mon, September 24, 2018 @ 10: 13 AM

 

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Jim, a sales associate at our store in Natick, was examining a piece of furniture when I noticed a deep scratch on top of his head. “What happened?” I asked, curious. “My five-month-old puppy took a swipe at me,” Jim said. “Her nails were pretty sharp.” 

Oh, the puppy stage. I know it well. Jim pulled out his phone to show me photos of his beautiful English Spaniel. He named her Ally, a play on the basketball term ‘alley oop’, in which a player catches a ball in mid-air and dunks it before his feet hit the ground. The name alone told me his puppy was an energetic ball of fur. 

“How’s she with the furniture?” I asked innocently. Jim’s pained expression said it all. Unsupervised, his pup would shred the low rungs on all his bar stools.

When my Boxer, Roxie, was a puppy, we made the very unfortunate decision to replace our old carpet. One day after the new carpet was installed, Roxie coughed up a bone in the center of the room. A mountain of scrubbing bubbles still hasn’t gotten that stain out. 

Puppies are mischievous. They can’t help it. They seem to possess a radar for the things that mean the most to you and they’ll find a way to improve them by gnawing or scratching. That’s probably so you’ll realize that the only perfect thing in your home is the pup. Ask any of my three boys what they love most in our home, they’ll say Roxie. My son, a college freshman, doesn’t seem homesick for us, his family. But he does tell us how much misses the dog.

Looking for some puppy love this holiday season? There are 95 days until Christmas. If you’re planning to get a puppy, start contacting breeders now. In about six weeks, you’ll get to pick your pooch. Be sure to use that time to come to terms with some of life’s truths. As often as you tell the kids about their new responsibilities for the dog, you’ll probably be the one to feed it, walk it, clean up after it, and take it to the vet.

At FCG, we often see the evidence of puppy wear-and-tear on furniture. Some of the damage, no doubt, was annoying at the time to the owner. But ask any of them if it was worth it. I’m quite sure they would all say yes.

Downsizing Is the Ultimate Test for Planners. You Won’t Fail with FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Mon, September 17, 2018 @ 10: 23 AM

 

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We’re a nation of planners, reluctant to leave anything to chance. We start saving for retirement the day we get our first paycheck. We start saving for college when the baby is born. No one seems to want to wait for the obstetrician to announce “it’s a boy!” anymore. Parents-to-be want to know the baby’s gender so they can pick out the paint for the nursery and fill the toy box. 

“Be prepared, not scared,” a wise person once told me. So I understand that planning makes sense. But some things defy planning, no matter how hard you try. Moving, for one. Moving requires a lot of skills, including forward thinking, logistics, attention to detail, and, most of all, cooperation. Not everyone can juggle all that gracefully. 

Even more than moving, downsizing poses a lot of challenges. After all, sorting through years or even decades of accumulated possessions be very emotional. Lifestyle gurus briskly tout the benefits of “decluttering.” That’s easy to advocate until you actually tackle the task of tossing out beloved holiday ornaments or the children’s grade-school art projects. Farewell, papier-mâché dinosaur! 

At FCG, we understand how moving – and especially downsizing – can tax even the most capable planner. Our phone rings daily with calls for help from homeowners in the midst of a furniture crisis. Here’s a sample: 

• “I thought I sold my sectional online, but the buyer never showed up.”
• “My daughter was going to take my bedroom set, but she changed her mind.”
• “The folks who are buying our house said they wanted our dining set, but now they don’t – and they want it gone by the closing. That’s tomorrow!” 
• “We thought our living room furniture was going to fit in our new home, but we just measured and it won’t.”
• “We just found out how much it’ll cost to store our furniture and it isn’t worth the price!”

For planners and non-planners alike, what’s most important is the ability to pivot in those tense moments. When everything falls apart and your blood pressure soars, think of FCG. We’re better than Xanax. We’re calm in a crisis but we’re fast at moving furniture. We’ll help you handle those last-minute unexpected snafus.

Communications 101 for College Freshman: Managing the Parental Money Machine

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 08, 2018 @ 10: 13 AM

 

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“Ma! I can’t talk right now. I’m broke! Send money! I’ll call you back soon!” 

That was me, circa 1991, yelling into the phone hanging on the wall of my fraternity house. Behind me, my fraternity brothers were howling like a pack of hyenas. That was the tradition back then. When mothers called to check on their boys at college, it was pandemonium in the frat house. 

I could hear my mom faintly, amid the ruckus, protesting. She rarely got me on the phone at college and she was reluctant to let me off the hook. But I had mastered the art of the frat-boy escape. The trick was to sound urgently studious. “No, Ma. Don’t try to call me, I’ll call you. Gotta go to class.”

I didn’t have a cell phone. No one did back in 1991. Like most of the students at the University of Kentucky, I had the Wildcat calling card. It cost fifty cents a minute to call home. Needless to say, my calls were brief and infrequent. Most of the time, I was just trying to siphon some money out of the parental wallet. 

Times have changed, of course. These days, we ship our kids off to college with an arsenal of technology. Thanks to all those advances in tech, communication is cheap and easy now. But some things never change. 

My son is in his fourth week as a college freshman. He has a functioning iPhone, he has a plan that allows unlimited texting, and, unless he has worn his fingers to a nub playing beer pong, he has the capability to tap out a message to the folks back home. After all, we’re the ones funding this venture. 

So far, we haven’t gotten anything more than one or two perfunctory calls from the kid. Zip, nada, nothing. Here’s the long version of my last conversation with him: “Dad, I don’t get cell service in my dorm. I’ll call you. Gotta go to class.”

I recognize that brush-off. After all, I perfected the technique almost thirty years ago. Just like me and my frat brothers, my son is relishing his newfound independence. At least I know I’ll be hearing from him somewhat regularly – when he runs short of money.

A Stubborn Dad, a Willful Son, and a Titanic Battle over … Shoelaces?

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 01, 2018 @ 11: 44 AM

 

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“I’m not doing it anymore,” I said firmly to my son, Robbie. “You’ll just have to figure it out yourself.”

Outwardly, I was calm and resolved. But inside, I was in turmoil. Robbie is a ten-year-old dynamo with world-class video-gaming skills and amazing dexterity on a waterski. Next week, he’ll start fifth grade, but he still can’t tie his own shoes. 

How did we get into this situation? 

Years of Velcro sneakers enabled him to put off the tedious task of mastering this essential skill. Then, on the few occasions when shoelace-tying was urgently required, it was generally easier and faster for us to do it for him. Time marched on and so did Robbie, in shoes tied by his parents, his brothers, or any handy adult bystander. 

Don’t get me wrong. I tried. I patiently shown him how to do it at least a hundred times, all of which were unsuccessful. So have his brothers, his mother and even his teachers. Each time, he insists, we’re to blame for giving faulty instructions or blocking his view of the action with our hands. 

Robbie came to me earlier this week, sneakers flopping, and asked for a tie. Suddenly, I realized I can’t let the kid go back to school lacking this critical skill. “No,” I said. “But, Dad,” he pleaded, “I can’t. Tie them for me, please! I don’t know how.”

Frustrated, I tried to walk away. Robbie flopped after me noisily. The boy is nothing if not persistent. After all, he’s our third child. With two noisy older brothers and two busy working parents, Robbie has mastered all the tactics of parental manipulation. He had no trouble learning that. 

Robbie argued that my lousy teaching was holding him back in life. I fumed that he wasn’t serious about learning. Our discussion got louder. Finally, I had to walk away. “Figure it out. I believe in you,” I advised him coolly. 

Actually, I was sweating. We had two goals this summer for Robbie: complete the school-required summer reading and learn how to tie his shoes. With only days remaining before the deadline, we’ve accomplished neither. Will I be tying his shoes on his wedding day? I felt my failure as a father acutely. 

I left him to his own devices, literally, and went back to working on the lawn. Twenty minutes later, I saw a red flash out of the corner of my eye. Robbie streaked by, sneakers firmly attached to his feet. I summoned him over and demanded to know who had succumbed to his pleas and tied his laces. “Dad,” he exclaimed triumphantly. “I did it myself! It was easy. I watched a video on YouTube.”

It’s been a long summer. I’ve been outdone by YouTube. I was crushed, but I did manage to get in the last word. “Good,” I managed to choke out. “Now you can GO TO SCHOOL.”

A Furniture Catastrophe: The New Sectional Won’t Fit Through the Door

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 25, 2018 @ 10: 50 AM

 

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The nation’s economy is on fire, unemployment is low, and the stock market is soaring. Confident consumers are spending money freely on cars, homes and furniture – maybe even a little too freely.

Boom times loosen the purse strings, and that’s when we see a peculiar problem pop up again and again. Shoppers order new furniture that, when delivered, doesn’t fit their homes.

How is that possible? Sometimes, it is simply a failure to measure. Or maybe shoppers get swept up in a fantasy and imagine their rooms are big enough to accommodate, say, the sectional that looks so perfect in the cavernous furniture warehouse. Whatever the reason, it’s a big problem when the delivery truck arrives and the furniture can’t be squeezed into a home.     

Not too long ago, we had a client confess to just that kind of blunder. He’d ordered a very expensive custom wall unit from Ethan Allen. When the delivery crew arrived at his home to install the unit, the enormous pieces wouldn’t fit through the front door, the back door or even through a window.

Sadly, the piece was a non-refundable and non-returnable – even for store credit. With limited options, the client called FCG. We brought the unit to our store in Natick where it sold it in a flash. Our client recovered some money, but not the full purchase price. He learned a hard lesson about buying furniture: measure before you buy.

Our buyers aren’t immune to this strange phenomenon, either. Every few weeks, we encounter an unhappy situation in which furniture bought at one of our three stores won’t fit in a home. Like most furniture stores, FCG has a policy that all sales are final.

To help you avoid this costly mistake, here’s some advice. Before buying, think  carefully. While a large piece may technically fit inside a room, it may not fit through your doors. Check before buying.  

Examine your hallways and corners. Consider any obstacles that may make it difficult to move a piece of furniture through the house such as stair railings, door jambs, and kitchen islands. Long pieces such as sofas need plenty of room to turn corners.

When in doubt, take photos of your entryways, hallways, and stairways. Take measurements of the height and width of your doors, the width of your hallways, the height of your ceilings. Bring your measurements and photos to the furniture store and ask the salesperson to consult with the delivery team – before you buy.

At FCG, we try to prevent instances of no-fit furniture. We offer lots of photos of each item on our website along with dimensions. We are always willing to provide additional photos or measurements. We’ll do what we can to keep you from joining the unfortunate no-fit club, but please remember. In the end, it’s the buyer's responsibility.

An American Furniture Giant Falls to Powerful Economic Forces

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 18, 2018 @ 12: 19 PM

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While you were snoozing under an umbrella on the beach this summer, Heritage Home Group filed for bankruptcy. This is not just a blip of insignificant business news. HHG is a giant of the nation’s furniture industry with a portfolio full of iconic brands: Henredon, Drexel, Thomasville, and, until recently, Lane.

 How many millions of women over the last century tucked away treasures such as wedding gowns in a hope chest made by Lane? How many Thanksgivings were celebrated around a dining table made by Drexel? How many newlyweds saved diligently to furnish their homes with a bedroom set by Thomasville?

 HHG furnished America, and its collapse is a day of reckoning. Like many other U.S. manufacturers, furniture makers have been hard hit by inexpensive imports from Asia.

 For us at FCG, HHG’s news was particularly painful. Since we started our business in 2005, its brands have been bestsellers in our stores. In fact, we may have sold as much furniture from these iconic brands as the companies’ dealers over the years.

 We’re intimately familiar with these companies’ greatest hits and their biggest flops. Henredon’s Natchez furniture collection has been a perennial favorite of our customers; it may be one of the finest lines of traditional furniture ever made in the U.S. On the other hand, its Asian-influenced Scene Three furniture from the 1980s was a design disaster.

 We cherish certain pieces from the early days of Thomasville and Drexel. Drexel made a mahogany corner dining-room cabinet that is one of my all-time favorites. Thomasville’s Earnest Hemingway Collection, launched a decade ago, was one of the most successful furniture lines in decades, and it still has fans.

 HHG was an important part of our success at FCG, and we were proud to carry its superbly crafted furniture. What will happen to its brands? Some will be sold to other companies; the fate of others are up in the air. Only one thing is certain: HHG’s filing signals the end of an era for the nation’s furniture industry.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Great Furniture Bargains This Weekend at FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 11, 2018 @ 09: 57 AM

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Taxes were the spark that ignited the American Revolution. Colonists had wearied of paying a ransom to a king thousands of miles away. So they grabbed their muskets and fought to throw off the yoke of "taxation without representation".

Today, most of us feel just as burdened by taxes. Congress has a miserable 18% approval rating. Like the colonists, you probably think that taxes are too high and our leaders are spending the money recklessly.

So hear ye, hear ye!

Keep your tax money in your wallet this weekend. The State of Massachusetts has declared August 11th and 12th a sales-tax holiday. Any item priced under $2,500 is free from sales tax. 

Thank you, Commonwealth.

At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we are making that sweet deal even sweeter. We're reducing prices 10% of on all furniture, accessories and mattresses.

We've been preparing for this event for weeks. We've traveling all over New England scooping up the most incredible pre-owned furniture. Last week, we scored truckloads of new furniture from an estate in Wayland, Massachusetts - pieces so new they were delivered only a few weeks ago. That house had bought all the top brand names: Arhaus, South Cone, Restoration Hardware, Baker, and Mitchell Gold.

We also raided homes in Wellesley, Marblehead and Duxbury. We plundered high-rises in Boston and grand waterfront homes in Cohasset. Check out our inventory online. I promise, you won't pay a king's ransom for these treasures.

This weekend only, you don't need a musket to win your freedom. The Commonwealth is giving you a two-day pass. You'll save 6.25% on your purchases. Nobody has the deals or the inventory that we have at FCG. So come on in and enjoy the revolution.